The Back Roadby Rachel Abbott (Website, Facebook, Twitter)
Published by Thomas & Mercer on October 8, 2013
Genres: Adult, Crime, Mystery, Psychological Thriller
Amazon • Goodreads
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
One girl is fighting for her life.
One village is struggling to hold tight to its secrets.
When a young girl is knocked over and left for dead at the side of
the road, the small community of Little Melham goes into shock. Why
was Abbie out so late at night, and why wasn't she missed?
For Ellie Saunders, the truth about that night could put her marriage
and even the safety of her children in jeopardy. She has to protect
her family, no matter what the consequences.
Former DCI Tom Douglas thought that Little Melham would offer a
peaceful retreat from the daily trauma of his work for the Met. But
as he is drawn into the web of deceit, his every instinct tells him
that what happened to Abbie was more than a tragic accident.
Only one person knows the whole story - why Abbie was out that night,
and who was driving the car. For that person, the accident spells
disaster, and somebody has to pay.
A fourteen year old girl is hit by a car on a small town’s back road, then dragged to the ditch and left for dead. As she clings to life in the hospital, the residents of Little Melham are abuzz with rumors and suspicions about their neighbors as they wonder who would commit such a crime. Meanwhile, intensive care nurse Ellie has a seemingly perfect life: loving teacher husband Max and five year old twins, plenty of money from her deceased mother’s inheritance that they could afford to completely remodel her childhood home. But all is not well in their household as Ellie tries to fend off the unwanted attention of a stalker while her husband might be having an affair with a fellow teacher.
Ellie’s successful and happily single sister, Leonora, drops by unannounced for a visit. Leo hasn’t been in their childhood home in years because it doesn’t hold any pleasant memories for her after the horrible treatment she suffered at the hands of her stepmother. Ellie is happy to see her sister, and she’s glad to have a distraction around the house to get her mind off her troubles.
To celebrate the completion of their house, Max and Ellie hold a dinner party and invite all of their friends. The guest list includes their new neighbor Tom, who is a detective that is in between jobs at the moment, Ellie’s old neighbors, one of Max’s coworkers and his awkward mistress, the sexy builder, and a few others. This is where the perfect facade of this small town starts to unravel, and the group of friends’ lives aren’t so simple and neat after all because they all hold secrets they want no one to find out. But a few of them have secrets that are deadly.
I give The Back Road a 4.5 out of 5. The writing was excellent and the pacing was perfect. Rachel Abbott does an excellent job of revealing the pieces of the puzzle slowly, but not so slowly that you lose interest. I really love it when I have trouble guessing who the actual bad guy is in a book, and in a book where all of the characters have some kind of flaws, I didn’t guess who the ultimate perpetrator was until the reveal towards the end. The main characters of Leo and Ellie weren’t too cookie cutter or predictable either. The emotional conflicts and reactions of all of the characters in this book were very realistic, and along with the incorporation of the use of social media and text messages in crimes, The Back Road felt fresh, modern, and intense. I highly recommend this book for lovers of mystery and psychological thrillers. However, it took me several chapters to keep the characters straight at first just due to the amount of characters introduced at the dinner party. Once past that, I could not put this book down.